Nelnet overview: What to know about the student loan servicer

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When someone agrees to borrow money for college with federal student loans, they don’t make their payments to the government. Instead, the U.S. Department of Education contracts with a variety of student loan servicers that manage that side of the equation.

Nelnet is one of several federal student loan servicers that you might be matched with if you borrow money for school — at least through the end of 2021. Nelnet’s student loan servicing is separate from Nelnet’s private student loan business, U-fi From Nelnet.

Read on to learn more about Nelnet, how the company operates and how to contact it for payments or inquiries on your federal student loans.

What is Nelnet and what does it do?

Nelnet is a student loan company that primarily services federal student loans. When you take out federal student loans, the Department of Education chooses a servicer among several different providers and assigns it to you.

If your loans were assigned to Nelnet, the company oversees your loan balances, your payments and your account. You will make monthly payments on your student loans directly to Nelnet, either by check, by phone or online, and you can always reach out to Nelnet with customer service inquiries about your account.

Is Nelnet a good loan servicer?

Like other student loan servicers, Nelnet has seen its share of poor user reviews. For example, the company shows 1.21 stars out of five on average within its Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile, with most complaints citing poor customer service and slow processing times. However, this low rating is fairly typical among student loan servicers. Nelnet is still accredited with the BBB with an A+ rating.

What types of student loans does Nelnet service?

Nelnet services federal student loans. Nelnet could be your servicer if you have one the following loan types:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan.
  • Direct Subsidized Loan.
  • Grad PLUS loan.
  • Parent PLUS loan.
  • Direct Consolidation Loan.
  • Perkins Loan.
  • FFELP Loan.

How do I know if Nelnet is my servicer?

If Nelnet reaches out to you about your student loans, that’s a sign that it’s been selected as your loan servicer. However, there are other ways to check whether your loans are with Nelnet, including the following:

  • Visit your Federal Student Aid dashboard and log in using your FSA ID. Find the “My Aid” section and click on “View loan servicer details.”
  • Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 800-433-3243.
  • Check your credit reports to see which servicer is listed.

If Nelnet is your student loan servicer, you should create an account on the Nelnet website. Doing so will allow you to keep an eye on the details of your student loan, including balances, interest and payments. Nelnet gives you the option to make online payments on your account, and you can also sign up for paperless billing.

How do I make Nelnet payments?

You can make payments to Nelnet directly in a few ways:

  • Online.
  • By mail.
  • By phone.
  • Via an online bill pay service.
  • Through the mobile app.

You can choose to make payments to Nelnet manually, but the servicer also offers automatic payment options — which may give you an interest rate discount.

Nelnet lets customers sign up for text alerts that notify them when a payment is due or a balance has been updated. You can also opt for text alerts that notify you about past-due payments.

How to contact Nelnet

There are several options to consider if you need to contact Nelnet for any reason. You can:

  • Fill out a contact email form.
  • Call 888-486-4722 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET.
  • Reach out through Facebook or Twitter.
  • Send correspondence in the mail to P.O. Box 82561, Lincoln, NE 68501. California residents can mail P.O. Box 82578, Lincoln, NE 68501.

The future of Nelnet

The Department of Education is currently transitioning into a new “Next Gen” platform for student loans, which will reduce the number of student loan servicers it contracts with in an attempt to simplify the experience for borrowers. Nelnet was not chosen as one of these servicers, and its contract with the federal government will end in December 2021.

This means that if you currently have federal loans serviced by Nelnet, your loans will be transferred to another servicer in 2022. You’ll receive emails, messaging on social media and a wide array of other communications about your new loan servicer when the time comes to switch. Details about your loans themselves won’t change, although you may have to reregister for automatic payments.

The bottom line

Nelnet is a student loan servicer that manages and oversees some federal student loans. If it’s your servicer, it is the company you should contact with questions about your student loan repayment. With that being said, you may not have Nelnet as your servicer for long; keep an eye out for communications from Nelnet and any future servicers as 2021 draws to a close.

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Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson writes expert content on personal finance, credit cards, loyalty and insurance topics. In addition to writing for Bankrate and CreditCards.com, Johnson does ongoing work for clients that include CNN, Forbes Advisor, LendingTree, Time Magazine and more.
Edited by
Student loans editor